All Blacks captain Richie McCaw got through 83 minutes and Dan Carter completed a successful comeback in the All Blacks 54-6 win against Japan.
The All Blacks led 28-6 at halftime.
McCaw, leading the All Blacks for the 84th time and playing his 121st Test, was outstanding and he was the one making a cross cover tackle in the 83rd minute to deny Japan a consolation try.
Japan were brave (hence the affectionate reference to them being more the brave blossoms than the cherry blossoms) and they have improved their set piece and their physicality.
But they offered no threat in the backs and while the All Blacks were sluggish in the first quarter they scored three tries within 10 minutes to lead 21-6 and shut out the Japanese effort.
McCaw, Jeremy Thrush, Sam Cane and Steven Luatua had strong games for the All Blacks, Carter got through 50 minutes and didn’t miss a kick in five conversion attempts and wingers Charles Piutau and Frank Halai were impressive.
Japan offered courage but did not have the quality of player or class to match the All Blacks.
Carter also became the first player in Test history to kick 500 conversions and penalties.
The All Blacks have now won 52 Tests and drawn one in the 57 Tests played since their defeat against the Springboks in Hamilton in 2009.
Japan – Penalties: Ayumu Goromaru (2).
All Blacks – Tries: Charles Piutau (2), Same Cane, Ben Smith, Richie McCaw, Jeremy Thrush, Frank Halai, Beauden Barrett. Conversions: Dan Carter (5), Barrett (2).
Japan – 15 Ayumu Goromaru, 14 Toshiaki Hirose, 13 Male Sau, 12 Craig Wing, 11 Kenki Fukuoka, 10 Harumichi Tatekawa, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Ryu Koliniasi Holani, 7 Michael Broadhurst, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 Hitoshi Ono, 4 Shoji Ito, 3 Kensuke Hatakeyama, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Masataka Mikami.
Subs: 16 Yusuke Aoki, 17 Yusuke Nagae, 18 Hiroshi Yamashita, 19 Luke Thompson, 20 Takashi Kikutani, 21 Kosei Ono, 22 Yu Tamura, 23 Yoshikazu Fujita.
All Blacks – 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Charles Piutau, 13 Ben Smith, 12 Francis Saili, 11 Frank Halai, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Richie McCaw (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Dominic Bird, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Ben Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Subs: 16 Andrew Hore, 17 Jeffrey Toomaga-Allen, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Brodie Retallick, 20 Luke Whitelock, 21 Aaron Smith, 22 Tom Taylor, 23 Ryan Crotty.
Commentary – as it happened
80 Japan 6 New Zealand 54
80 Japan are throwing everything at the All Blacks’ try-line but the world champions are defending like Trojans! The ball goes wide to Kenki Fukuoka, who dives in a bid tis bundled into touch by McCaw and Steven Luatua. The referee checks with his TMO, who rules that no try was scored as Fukuoka had a foot in touch. That’s the final act of the match as the hooter sounds to bring proceedings to a close. New Zealand were always going to win this match by a huge margin but credit to Japan for making an entertaining spectacle.
79 The All Blacks are under attack close to their try-line but Japan can’t break down a wall of defenders.
76 CONVERSION, NEW ZEALAND, BARRETT! 6-54. Barrett holds his nerve again to add another conversion.
75 TRY, NEW ZEALAND, PIUTAU! 6-52. The All Blacks win a turnover and the ball goes wide to their backs. Saili sees Japan’s defence lying flat and boots it upfield. Piutau gathers and gets in for his second test try!
72 Japan are trying to strike back, from inside their half, but they make little progress. They are eventually pinned when Tanaka knocks on,
69 CONVERSION, NEW ZEALAND, BARRETT! 6-47. Barrett dusts himself off and adds the two-pointer to extend the visitors’ lead!
68 TRY, NEW ZEALAND, BARRETT! 6-45. The All Blacks push Japan off the ball at a scrum and Kerr-Barlow stabs through a beautifully-weighted kick which Barrett gathers before dotting down!
67 Kerr-Barlow is caught in possession at the back of the scrum again and knocks on inside Japan’s 22.
64 New Zealand are on the attack on the edge of Japan’s 22 but they are making little headway. Referee Stuart Berry eventually pins’ Japan’s defence for being offside and McCaw opts to attack from a scrum instead of kicking for goal or touch.
61 Takashi Kikutani catches Kerr-Barlow in possession at a ruck and Ryu Koliniasi Holani gathers the loose ball which he boots upfield into the All Blacks’ half.
58 TRY, NEW ZEALAND, HALAI! 6-40. McCaw offloads to Kerr-Barlow, close to Japan’s try-line but Tui stops him just short of the line. Frank Halai reacts quickest and drives over from close quarters in the right-hand corner!
55 The All Blacks do well to push Japan off the ball at a scrum, on the hosts’ try-line. Jeremy Thrush makes another dash for the line but this time he is held up by the Japanese defence.
52 CONVERSION, NEW ZEALAND, CARTER! 6-35. Carter adds the extras to extend the visitors’ lead. That’s also his final act of the match as he is subsequently replaced by Tom Taylor.
51 TRY, NEW ZEALAND, THRUSH! 6-33. The All Blacks go on the drive from a line-out, on Japan’s five-metre line, and when it is halted the forwards pick-up-and-go and Jeremy Thrush gets in for his first Test try!
48 Hendrick Tui takes the ball into contact but Cane does brilliantly when he rips the ball from his grasp, in the tackle! The ball goes wide to Piutau, who kicks ahead.
46 Carter carries strongly, close to Japan’s try-line, but the All Blacks are penalised when Francis Saili enters the ensuing ruck from the side.
43 McCaw and Kerr-Barlow combine off the back of a scrum, just inside Japan’s half. The ball is spun wide to Barrett who stabs through a grubber kick which rolls into touch inside the home side’s 22.
40 Carter gets the second half underway! His kick is gathered by Japan’s forwards who set up a ruck inside their 22.
40 HALF TIME: JAPAN 6 NEW ZEALAND 28
40 Awesome wrap-around move by Carter, but Halai is tackled into touch just short of the Japan line. That’s it for the first half. Japan have taken a positive attitude and are looking decent but are being let down by their execution. The hosts were in it for about 20 minutes, but once the ABs got on top, the floodgates opened.
38 Solid defending from the All Blacks. Japan bash away for about 10 phases near the All Blacks line, but then concede a penalty – the ABs are lucky as the referee was playing advantage against Wyatt Crockett, but ruled that advantage was over after about four phases.
36 Japan win a penalty just inside the NZ half. They choose to set up a line-out. Credit too them for going for a try and not just picking up three points.
34 CONVERSION, CARTER. 6-28.
33 TRY, NEW ZEALAND, MCCAW. 6-26. The scrum isn’t very stable but Richie McCaw can break off the back and muscle his way over for NZ’s fourth try.
32 More pressure from New Zealand as Piutau chips ahead and Tamura is forced the carry the ball over his own line. 5m scrum
31 CONVERSION, CARTER. 6-21
30 TRY, NEW ZEALAND, PIUTAU. 6-19. The floodgates are starting to open as the All Blacks score their 3rd try. Carter chips ahead, Ben Smith frees up Piutau who bumpes off two tackles before passing back inside to his centre who scores under the sticks.
28 CONVERSION, CARTER. 6-14. The slighest error always get punishes by the All Blacks!
27 TRY, NEW ZEALAND, CANE. 6-12. Sam Cane gets the ABS second try, a move started after Dan Carter bust through a whole after collected a ball spilled by Japan. Some good hands from Coles there as well
25 New Zealand have already coughed up seven penalties!
24 A few uncharacteristic mistakes from the All Blacks here. Beauden Barrett hacks the ball into touch, but was outside his 22. Japan are penalised at the line-out, but then Carter doesn’t find touch from the penalty.
22 PENALTY, JAPAN, GOROMARU. 6-7. More points for Japan! After about five phases Dane Coles is penalised for not releasing in the tackle – just outside the NZ 22. Goromaru, slots it from right in front.
19 Scrum penalty against Japan – the scrums have been a mess from the start. Carter finds touch but Michael Broadhurst steals the line-out for Japan! The All Blacks go offside, penalty.
17 Japan are looking decent with ball in hand. They take it through about 10 attacking phases before a handling error brings to an end a very promising move just outside the Kiwi 22.
15 Sam Cane penalised for taking a man out in the air, but Japan’s knock on as they work their way towards the New Zealand 22.
13 PENALTY, JAPAN, GOROMARU. 3-7. Japan are on the board as Ayumu Goromaru slots the penalty from about 35m out.
12 Poor clearance by New Zealand from the restart and Japan win a penalty as the ABs go offside.
11 CONVERSION, CARTER. 0-7. Will the floodgates open?
10 TRY, NEW ZEALAND, PIUTAU. 0-5! All Blacks winger Charles Piutau picks up his first Test try after Japan fullback Ayumu Goromaru drops a bomb from Beauden Barrett. There was just no cover.
8 The visitors work it into the Japan 22 with some strong forward rushes and then win a scrum feed as it all collapse in a hap on the ground – just too many bodies over the ball. Another scrum goes down in a heap and is reset – but it’s still New Zealand’s feed
6 Now Richie McCaw is penalised, but Japan return possession cheaply as they tap and go and then Harumichi Tatekawa gets isolated and is blown up.
4 Japan are still stuck in their own territory. Harumichi Tatekawa barely gets the ball out his 22, but Wyatt Crockott is penalised at the first ruck.
3 What? This is unreal Japan push the All Blacks scrum back and win a heel against the head!
2 Ryu Koliniasi Holani knocks the ball on as he attempts to break off the back of that scrum near his own 10m line. Japan putting themselves under some early pressure.
1 Here we go! Dan Carter gets us underway….Early knock-on by New Zealand followed by a scrum reset.
0 Haka time!
0 Harumichi Tatekawa starts at fly-half for Japan, outside Highlanders star Fumiaki Tanaka. The biggest news is amongst the staff however as technical advisor Scott Wisemantel takes change because head coach Eddie Jones is recovering from a minor stroke.
0 Team news: Richie McCaw will captain New Zealand as he returns from injury. There are two new players in the starting XV and another two new All Blacks named on the bench.The starting XV sees bustling Counties-Manukau and Blues wing Frank Halai selected in an All Blacks side for the first time, with massive Crusaders and Canterbury lock Dominic Bird also making his debut.
0 Hello and welcome to Tokyo for our coverage of the November international for 2013. Japan host the All Blacks for the first time – the result is unlikely to be a surprise…